Having been in the works for a while, Climate Week in New York was chosen as the time to launch the campaign and a group of team members from the Global EverGreening Alliance (GEA) arrived from Germany, India, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Kenya and the United States to coordinate the week’s events.

It was a great time for team members who had never met to bond during the frantic week. All hands were on deck to prepare for the final event at the Global Landscape Forum, but there was plenty to do before then.

Working on the train

On Monday morning, GEA Chair, Dennis Garrity moderated a discussion on EverGreen Energy: a unique and massively scalable solution for reducing emissions with many SDG co-benefits. In partnership with UNDP and hosted by the fabulous team from Nature4Climate, Dennis was joined by Chris Armitage, Tim Christophersen, Jonathan Haskett, Lucky Dissanayeka, Kenneth Namunje and Mukhisa Kituyi.

On Tuesday, the Press Conference to announce the campaign was delivered to a packed room and the Green Up to Cool Down video was shown for the first time (watch it here). Dennis Garrity, Chris Armitage, Stephen Fern, Daniel Binns, Willem van der Schoot and Marjolein Albers lent their support to the campaign. Martin Frick from UNFCCC made a last minute appearance to help with the announcement, and Inge Vianen, Global Leader of CARE Climate Change and Resilience Platform, demonstrated not only her agility in any setting, but also the strength of her relationship with the Alliance, by stepping in to help announce the campaign with no prior warning!

A local supermarket had become the team’s office for the week (it was a fairly exceptional supermarket with excellent coffee!). This was where everyone met for breakfast to plan the day ahead. On Friday morning, Ulrich Bosch appeared with a broken-down cardboard box and his paints and set himself up at the next table. Take a look at what he carried off to the Climate Action Strike at Central Park:

On Saturday, the Alliance’s hugely successful launch of the EverGreening the Earth Campaign, along with the call to action to Green Up to Cool Down the planet was announced by Dennis Garrity. Based on the principles within the white paper he co-authored along with technical advisors and experts in the field, Dennis said:

“We asked ourselves a question, could we not set an audacious goal to build a global movement to further accelerate the scaling up processes that are underway in order to be able to achieve that goal of drawing down 20 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year by the year 2050 through nature-based solutions. And we said, why not?!”

Dennis was joined by Chris Armitage and a packed panel of friends. Here’s what they said:

Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director for Africa, UNDP: “we see opportunities for people to engage, connect across regions, for peace to reign among them as they connect and for livelihoods to be built for the future”

Tim Christophersen, UN Environment Program & Chair, Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration: “restoration is an idea whose time has come”

Stephen Fern, Chair, G9Ark: “We’re delighted to announce that we’re committed to include a Global EverGreening Alliance project in our initial funding program – the Grand African Savannah Green Up Program”.

Rohini Chaturvedi, Director, Global EverGreening Alliance moderator of Forests: EverGreening the Earth’s Degraded Landscapes session, Global Landscapes Forum New York City 2019. Photo by Justin Davey/GLF

Jennifer Morris, President, Conservation International: “We’ve got to get private sector into this game – we just have to!”

Sean Dewitt, World Resources Institute: “We need to be digging in the dirt”

Monicah Kibaki, EverGreening Fellow: “We appeal to all partners to join hands because we are ready to go!”

Felix Finkbeiner, Founder, Plant for the Planet: “one of the biggest challenges that we are facing as a community in general is bringing transparency into our work. If we want to scale up our global funding we need to bring trust and transparency”

Felix Finkbeiner, Founder, Plant-for-the-Planet speaks at the Global Landscape Forum New York City 2019. Photo by Sally Armitage

Marjolein Albers, CEO, Justdiggit: ”The support of mass media is crucial in reaching and engaging people”.

You can watch the 40 minute plenary session here.

Some Alliance members found themselves with last minute, high pressure roles to play – a special thanks to Rohini Chaturvedi for stepping into the moderator role, to Mike Ruth for taking on the unenviable task of time-keeper during the session (and for not taking it personally when he was ignored a couple of times!), to Marjolein Albers from Justdiggit for putting the slide deck together, and to Sebastian Mathews for directing the running of the deck on the day. We hope they will still want to be involved next time!

We are now calling everyone to action to support this movement and create the momentum to achieve the campaign targets because, as Chris told the crowd at the GLF, ‘Only together can we avert catastrophe and reverse climate change – so please join us, and together we will Green Up to Cool Down the planet!’